Best of Maharashtra
This 10 days Best of Maharashtra tour will take you through some of the well – known and interesting places of this state. You will explore the financial capital of India Mumbai & the UNESCO world heritage caves of Elephanta, Ajanta, Ellora, Karla & Bhaja. You will also visit the ancient holy city Nashik & 2 Jyotirlinga Temples of lord shiva. Small village Sani Signapur famed for door fewer houses and hill of Lonavala & Khandala are also part of your itinerary.
Day 1: Arrive in Mumbai
On arrival at Mumbai airport assistance & transfer to hotel (check-in/out time 12 pm). Mumbai is disciplined by no time frame neither day nor night. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sports activity, nightclubs & discotheques, theatre, music & gourmet restaurants offer visitors a heady mix of all this and more. Rest time free for personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Mumbai (B)
City tour of Mumbai. Drive via Marine Drive one of the most beautifully laid boulevards in the city to reach the Gateway of India. Board a ferry from here to reach Elephanta Caves (Monday closed). A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where caves are located. Afterward, cruise back to Gateway of India and then a city tour. Drive pass CST & Parliament House. Visit Dhobhi Ghat to see the city’s famous open-air laundry in action. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay, a Grade I Heritage Building of the city counted amongst one of the most prominent museums of India. The complex exhibits a myriad collection of ancient artifacts, artwork, and sculptors of the country which give a unique insight into our past. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai – Nashik (170kms) (B)
Drive to Nashik check-in at the hotel. Nashik the ancient holy city is known for its links to Ramayana the epic poem. Visit the Panchavati Temple complex on the bank of Godavari River which includes Ram Kund where Lord Rama believed to have bathed in the water tank. Shri Kalaram Sansthan Mandir an ancient shrine to Lord Rama, and Sita Gufaa caves. Also visit Sundarnarayan Temple, ISKCON Temple & millennium-old Pandavleni Caves. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Nashik – Aurangabad (170kms) (B)
Drive to Aurangabad via visiting Shirdi known as the home of revered spiritual leader Sai Baba. The Samadhi Mandir shrine has an ornate marble statue of Sai Baba, alongside his tomb. Close by are Dwarkamai, a mosque where Sai Baba once lived, and tree-lined Lendi Garden. Arrive Aurangabad check-in at the hotel. Later visit Bibi ka Maqbara, the white marbled monument, a son loving tribute to his mother. Panchakki, which literally means water mill. An artificial waterfall has been created near the mill, through which this water is discharged onto the wheel to power the flour mill and grind grain for the pilgrims. And Aurangabad Caves the twelve rock-cut Buddhist shrines located on a hill running roughly east to west, close to the city of Aurangabad. The first reference to the Aurangabad Caves is in the great chaitya of Kanheri Caves. The Aurangabad Caves were dug out of comparatively soft basalt rock during the 6th and 7th centuries. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Aurangabad (B)
Excursion to Ajanta (Monday closed). The Buddhist Caves of Ajanta were discovered by the British officers in 1819 while hunting the tiger. Ajanta Caves were first mentioned in the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited India between AD 629 and 645. The Caves at Ajanta are older than those at Ellora which date from about 200 BC to 650 AD. Thirty beautiful Buddhist Caves with mesmerizing sculptures and paintings depicting Buddha`s life as well the lives of the Buddha in his previous births. Five of these Caves are Chaityas (Place of worship) while the other twenty-five is Viharas (monasteries). Ajanta Caves are divided into two categories based on two schools of Buddhist thought – Hinayana Caves and Mahayana Caves. Drive back to Aurangabad for an overnight stay.
Day 6: Aurangabad (B)
Excursion to visit the Ellora Caves (Tuesday closed), a UNESCO World Heritage Site from about 200 BC. to 650 AD. There are 34 monasteries and temples at Ellora, belonging to the three different religions Buddhism, Hinduism & Jainism. Grishneshwar Temple one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana. On way back visit Daulatabad Fort one of the most powerful forts of the medieval Deccan. Later visit Bibi ka Maqbara built-in 1678 is a son loving tribute to his mother, Panchakki which discharged water on the wheel to power the flour mill and grind grain for the pilgrims & Aurangabad Caves artificial caves that were dug out of soft rock during the 6th & 7th century. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Aurangabad – Lonavala (290kms) (B)
Drive to Lonavala via visiting Shani Temple & Shani Shingnapur Village. Lord Shanidev the personification of the planet Saturn is worshipped with utmost reverence and devotion. There is only a simple platform on which stands the Swayambhu idol, in black stone. One of the unique aspects of the village Shiganapur is that houses here have no door frames or locks on them for safety. They are in fact not needed. The people here believe that it is the benediction of the god that no crime ever occurs in this village where homes have no front doors, shops are always left unlocked and locals never feel unsafe where villagers eschew security because of their undying faith in Lord Shani who is considered the guardian of the village. Continue to drive to Lonavala check-in at the hotel. Rest time free to relax. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Lonavala/ Khandala (B)
Visit Karla Caves and Bhaja Caves the ancient Buddhist shrines in Lonavala. These caves were carved from solid granite rocks around 160 BC. It has an Ashoka Stambh at the entrance. The caves have rooms for the monks who resided here a prayer hall and a huge stupa. It also has the temple of Ek Veera the goddess of the Koli flock who is the original resident of Mumbai. They feature massive pillars and intricate relief sculptures. South of the Bhaja Caves sits the imposing Lohagad Fort with its 4 gates. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used this edifice to keep all his treasures safe. This mighty structure of the Maratha empire is interlinked with the Visapur Fort and is one of the best hill fortresses of the region. West of here is Bhushi Dam, where water overflows onto a set of steps during the rainy season. Rest time to enjoy the hill station. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Lonavala – Mumbai (85kms) (B)
Drive to Mumbai check-in at the hotel. An optional shopping tour in Mumbai with your driver. You can visit famous malls & markets in Dadar, Fort, Colaba Causeway. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Mumbai – Departure (B)
As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Specification: Best of Maharashtra
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